About Nicola Stroud Professional Golf Coach
My Early Years
I started taking group lessons as an 8 year old at my local Golf Professionl at Dinas Powys Golf Club, near Cardiff. But, I really got 'the bug' for playing when during my usual Saturday morning golf lesson, the South Wales Girls Golf Association were having a golf day and invited me to join them for a 9 hole competition; being the shy type my Mum had to encourage me (or most likely bribed me) to play, and to my amazement I loved it and even won a prize.
This was the catalyst that marked the beginning of my addiction with the game of golf.
I continued playing with various junior groups making lifelong friends along the way. I moved to one to one coaching once I was playing 18 holes and quickly dropped my handicap to 4 by the age of 13 and was selected to play for Wales for a number of years both in the UK and abroad.
My Academic Years
Achieved a place in the first European University course for Professional Golf Studies, pioneered by the PGA at Kingston University/Merrist Wood College (now at Birmingham Uni). I was the first female in Europe to graduate from the course in 1994, during which time I also achieved my PGA qualifications.
PGA Golf Psychology Coaching Certificate - part of the PGA of GB&I Member Education Programme and PGA of Europe Approved Education Programme.
Golf Union of Wales accredited coach, also accredited with the PGA Advanced Status for the "outstanding contribution" I have made to the development of golf so far in my career.
My Professional Years
My first appointment as an Assistant Golf Professional was at Hanbury Manor, Hertfordshire. Being a female Golf Professional in the early 90's was somewhat challenging, so I focused on proprietary Golf Clubs to help me forge a successful career. During my time here I taught a few celebrities, caddied for Nick Faldo and worked with the legendary Jack Nicklaus.
I moved onto The Hertfordshire Golf & Country Club, where I moved through the ranks and became the youngest female Head Golf Professional in the PGA. I played in a number of professional events including qualifying for the Ladies Bristish Open. After a number of years I decided that management was taking me further away from my true passion - coaching golf.
So I moved and became a full time coach at Manchester Playgolf. Working within the local community, it was here that I first appreciated how golf can help people with disabilities and encourage youngsters from disadvantaged areas to become connected with society and build their self-esteem.
Following a few years coaching in Spain, I had the amazing opportunity to join the Celtic Manor Resort coaching team, so I finally moved back home to Wales. This provided me with the unique experience of working and developing my skills at Wales' National Centre of Excellence.
Working at the Resort during the Ryder Cup is an experience of which I shall always be very proud and never forget. Amazing to witness the behind the scenes organisation and management of such an iconic event.
Moving further into Wales and nearer home, I became the Head Professional at The Gower Golf Club. Here I was instrumental in improving their status within the community increasing their membership for both adults and children and improving the Clubs' facilities.
In particular, a fully funded (by Sport Wales and local businesses) seven bay undercover training facility. Developing a successful disability program and gaining the INsport Award and a police and community program to help kids from disadvantaged areas within Swansea.
I was proud to win the "City & County of Swansea Community Sports Coach of the Year" award and was Runner up in the "BBC / Sport Wales Community Sports Coach of the Year" award.
Previously to "The Here and Now"
Since 2014, when I moved my coaching business to West Wales, I have introduced over 1500 kids to golf, over 500 women and over 400 people with disabilities. 20 Police Officers have also been personally trained to use golf as a medium for building lasting and positive relationships with children.
I was a PGA Ambassador and trainer with Golf Union of Wales, providing mentoring and training services to volunteers and Golf Professionals in Wales, which allowed me to "give back" to those in the industry that have helped me in my career.
I am also now privileged to have won a Golf Foundations President's award and been honoured with the Award of Wales' Golf Pro of the year.
In addtion to this I have been accredited with the prestigious title of PGA Advanced Golf Professional, only seven percent of PGA Golf Professionals in Europe have this honour. It is awarded by the Board of Directors of the Professional Golfers' Association for delivering "over and beyond" professional services to the industry.
In order to expand the reach of my business, I coached full time at both Pennard Golf Club and Carmarthen Golf Club. I am also very proud to be the Dyfed Ladies County Coach.
The Here and Now
Starting 2018, I am honoured and priviledged to work at two very prestigious golf courses: Pennard Golf Club and Burnham and Berrow Golf Club. I am thrilled to be instrumental in delivery coaching programmes and lessons to their members and local golfers alike. I look forward to a new chapter in my coaching career... watch this space!